Movie Theater’s Across The Country Celebrate “National Cinema Day” With Cheap Tickets

All across the country, movie tickets are only going to cost $3 for National Cinema Day.

The Cinema Foundation noted that this is in efforts to help encourage people to once again return to the movie theaters.

“More than 3,000 theaters with over 30,000 screens will offer tickets for $3, excluding tax, across all formats and show times on Sept. 3,” said The Cinema Foundation. 

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Labor Day weekend has been considered one of the slowest weekends throughout the year for movie theaters. Throughout the summer, movie theaters have seen low attendance even though it has been higher since they first reopened post-pandemic.

“After this summer’s record-breaking return to cinemas, we wanted to do something to celebrate moviegoing,” said Jackie Brenneman, Cinema Foundation president.

National Cinema Day also acts as a gift of thanks due to the high success of recent releases like “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Minions: Rise of Gru,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Jurassic World: Dominion” which brought in roughly $1.8 billion. 

“We’re doing it by offering a ‘thank you’ to the moviegoers that made this summer happen, and by offering an extra enticement for those who haven’t made it back yet.”

Theater companies like AMC and Cinemark are adding to the mix with concession specials that they are offering on Saturday. 

According to CBS News, AMC is going to offer a fountain drink and popcorn combo for only $5. Cinemark is continuing with the theme for National Cinema Day by offering a medium ICEE, candy or a small popcorn for only $3. 

As a small preview, exclusively on Saturday, theaters will be showing sneak peeks and clips from several major studios with some of the upcoming films that are set to debut in the upcoming fall and winter months.

Movie theaters have taken a notorious hit over the last few years due to COVID and the theatrical releases coming out in “hybrid” form both in theaters and on streaming platforms. 

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Even with the lower than average movie theater attendants, the summer also saw a number of people coming to watch the big blockbusters like “Thor: Love and Thunder” and “Nope.”

According to Comscore, this past summer’s box office was $3.027 billion.

In total, movie theaters have found that the domestic box office has brought more than $5.2 billion and its set to beat 2021.

The organizers of National Cinema Day have noted that the event is set to act as a “trial” to see the response from theatergoers around the country. If the results are successful, it could become an annual event. 

Cinema Movie Theater

How Cinemas Are Going Above And Beyond To Lure Moviegoers Back 

Compared to 2019, domestic movie ticket sales for the first four months of 2022 show a 44% decrease, however, cinemas are seeing a significant increase in ticket purchases when compared to last year. 

“Blockbuster titles like Warner Bros.′ ‘The Batman,’ Paramount’s ‘Sonic 2’ and the Marvel-Sony’s ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ have led to a 338% increase in ticket sales from 2021, reaching $1.95 billion,” according to data from Comscore.

Cinema operators were excited to hear all the new titles coming out this year, and were reassured by studios that they will continue to receive a large number of theatrical exclusives going forward. Operators were also told about the plans certain studios have for the future at CinemaCon last week. 

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The annual convention hosted at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas was seen as a major success after multiple studios expressed their excitement for showcasing a diversity of content in the coming year. 

Movie theater owners, however, have to be more individually creative in order to market their movies to citizens who are still hesitant about returning to the theater. Many theaters have offered exclusive food and drink deals, as well as flexibility regarding the content they show at the theater. 

For larger chains such as AMC, Regal, and Cinemark, live events like concerts, sports and gaming are being used to draw moviegoers back to the cinema. 

AMC announced that it would be investing $250 million into Cinionic’s laser projectors to be placed in 3,500 of its locations in the US by 2026. This technology offers brighter and crisper imaging, and makes it easier for the operators, as the bulbs don’t need to be replaced multiple times a year like more traditional projectors. 

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“We wanted to make a bold, straightforward statement to remind moviegoers of that immersive, communal, multi-sensory experience that you can only get by seeing a movie in a theater,” said Alicia Cook, director of advertising at AMC Theatres, during a CinemaCon panel.

Smaller chains with less access to large sums of money to invest in have gotten creative in creating a better theatrical experience for their audiences. 

“We are more nimble than the larger organizations. I think our superpower is eventizing but also creating those experiences around going to the movies. So, we do crazy stuff,” said Rich Daughtridge, president and CEO of Warehouse Cinemas.

Daughtridge said “promotions range from offering margaritas with movie tickets to special daddy-daughter date night showings. Mid-pandemic, we  capitalized on the release of Solstice Studio’s ‘Unhinged’ by hosting a car smash event during the film’s fifth week in theaters.”

“I think as marketers we tend to say ‘this movie is playing,’ ‘this movie is playing. I think from an engagement perspective, let’s talk a little bit more about why going to the movies is a good thing to do … I think the messaging that we are trying to do to create that engagement is more about why moviegoing makes sense versus just what movie is playing,” Daughtridge said.

4.1 Million Individual Investors Own 80% Stock Of AMC Entertainment 

AMC Entertainment announced this week that 4.1 million individual shareholders own 80% of the company’s stock. 

“The number of investors who want to own a part of AMC continues to increase. More than 80% of AMC shares are held by a broad base of retail investors — highly unusual for big public companies — with an average holding of around 120 shares.”

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“Some hold more and some hold less, however, each and every shareholder is important to AMC. Each shareholder has a critical role to play in AMC’s future by having their voice heard by voting at our upcoming Shareholder Meeting. By voting in favor of the proposals, together we can help position AMC, in its 101st year of business, for continued success over the next century,”  CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.

AMC shares in general have soared after experiencing a 52-week low of under $2, to a new high of about $73. This Wednesday the shared closed off at $49, and Wall Street Analysts have been closely monitoring the way in which that price has been fluctuating. 

SEC chairman Gary Gensler said that he has “asked the agency’s staff to examine a variety of stock trading issues and rules, which are being closely scrutinized amid wild swings in so-called meme stocks like AMC, GameStop and a handful of others. Brokers profit when investors trade.”

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Aron claimed that “AMC has worked the stock rise to raise cash by issuing shares and selling them at inflated prices. We’ll use the latest cash injection for acquisitions including of ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters where the chain is in discussions with landlords.”

Within the past year of the pandemic, entertainment hubs like movie theaters and museums have seen a massive decline in revenue and foot traffic; for obvious reasons. So the fact that their stock prices were so low for so long makes sense, especially for AMC which was on the brink of bankruptcy in the beginning of the pandemic. 

Aron is continuing to try to get more investments, just last week he invited all shareholders to become AMC Stubs loyalty members for free, which allows them to get a free popcorn at every showing. As of this past weekend he tweeted that over 100,000 retail investors were not AMC Stubs members, quite a genius move for a company that was on the brink of extinction just a few months ago.


AMC Theaters Cuts Ties With Universal Pictures After “Trolls World Tour” Digital Release

AMC Theaters and Universal Pictures have been involved in quite the feud throughout this entire coronavirus pandemic. Things seemed to hit a boiling point this week as well, as AMC announced that they no longer would be playing movies from Universal, which is one of the biggest studios in Hollywood today. 

This all started when Universal made the decision to release their most recent animated feature, “Trolls World Tour,” directly on premium video on-demand services, as well as a few drive-in theaters throughout the country. The studio made this decision amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the fact that all movie theaters in America essentially shut down the same week that the movie was originally scheduled to be released in theaters. 

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“Trolls World Tour” actually did amazing numbers for Universal, especially considering the movie was directly released for at-home viewing. This led to Universal making a victorious statement once the initial week of the movie’s release turned out to be a massive success. Within this statement, NBCUniversal’s CEO Jeff Shell insinuated that the studio would potentially begin releasing some movies in theaters and on-demand in the future once this pandemic subsides. This was interpreted by AMC as a direct threat. 

This statement also followed an announcement that Universal’s newest movie, “The King Of Staten Island” starring Pete Davidson, would also be directly released onto on-demand services. AMC and other major theater chains throughout the country were less than pleased hearing these pieces of news back to back. 

“This radical change by Universal to the business model that currently exists between our two companies represents nothing but downside for us and is categorically unacceptable to AMC Entertainment. Accordingly, we want to be absolutely clear, so that there is no ambiguity of any kind. AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theaters simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies,” AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said in a statement. 

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Which prompted Universal Pictures to respond and defend the studio to AMC and the general public. A spokesperson for Universal said:

“Our desire has always been to efficiently deliver entertainment to as wide an audience as possible. We absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and have made no statement to the contrary.”

Like any major argument, this seems to be a classic case of miscommunication fueled by the uncertainty of the future post-pandemic. AMC however, hasn’t made a clear definitive statement about the future of their relationship with Universal. The theater is mainly focusing on financial recovery, especially considering all theaters are indefinitely closed and not earning any money at the moment. 

Many major movie theaters aren’t projected to re-open until the end of this summer, and even that’s still unclear. For now, lower level employees are hoping that both AMC and Universal can put aside their differences to re-collaborate once this pandemic is over, as both corporations have been extremely mutually beneficial to each other. The goal from Universal is that AMC retracts their original aggressive declaration, and the two are able to find a happy middle ground. For now, like all things in the world right now, only time will tell how well these industries recover in a post-Covid world.

Film Reel

El Camino: An Entertaining, If Unnecessary, Epilogue

Spoilers for Breaking Bad follow.

Breaking Bad’s final episodes were arguably just as good as the rest of the series, which is to say they provided a satisfying and complete conclusion to the show’s various character arcs and plot threads. Jesse Pinkman’s final scene, in which he escapes a Nazi compound driving a stolen El Camino through a chainlink fence, gives the character resolution while leaving his fate open to the viewer’s imagination. Though not explicitly stated, audiences have long speculated that Jesse escapes both the law and his criminal past, free to start a new life someplace far away. El Camino, a two-hour thriller filmed in secret and released on Netflix on October 11th following a limited theatrical run, explores Jesse’s character in the immediate aftermath of the events of the series, and while it offers few surprises or new plot developments, the film is a well-crafted and entertaining coda to the critically-acclaimed series.

Perhaps the first thing viewers will notice about the film is the fact that all of the actors have visibly aged, as the movie was filmed six years after the conclusion of the series on which it was based. For the film’s protagonist, this fact of life works to the narrative’s benefit; Aaron Paul looks suitably transformed as Jesse Pinkman after having undergone an unimaginably cruel ordeal during the events of the series’ final season. However, the appearance of other characters strains believability. Badger and Skinny Pete, for instance, are presumed to be in their 20’s, but are portrayed by actors who are 37 and 48 respectively. And while the movie borrows heavily from the visual language of Breaking Bad, its cinematographic style has also matured, as it was produced with a higher budget and filmed with better-quality cameras. As such, the film is visually distinct from the series that preceded it, as its various elements combine to produce a more mature and refined appearance, a welcome evolution of the series’ iconic look.

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Just as in Breaking Bad, the writing and acting on display in El Camino is phenomenal, and Aaron Paul excels in a leading role. Whereas the presentation of his character throughout the five-season series mainly focused on his relationship with Walter White, Jesse is often acting by himself throughout the events of the movie, allowing Aaron Paul to fully showcase his talent. Paul skillfully portrays Pinkman both in the aftermath of the events of the series and in flashbacks to previous points in the show, skillfully depicting the transformation of his character from the one viewers will recognize from the series to the movie’s more independent and world-wearied take. One of the major themes of the original show was the idea of transformation, as the show depicts the gradual but drastic evolution of Walter White from unassuming high-school teacher to meth kingpin, and this theme is extended in El Camino, as Jesse Pinkman becomes his own man rather than one who is defined by his relationship with his mentor and father figure, Mr. White.

Though the film certainly provides some new perspective on a fan-favorite character, the general plot points of El Camino are unsurprising, as Jesse’s fate was effectively telegraphed by the events of the series. Though the film offers a few twists and turns, as well as a number of flashbacks that both inform the plot and give the viewer a sense of Jesse’s emotional and mental state in the present, the general trajectory of the movie’s principal characters is predictable. This, however, is perhaps for the best, as it prevents the movie from overshadowing the series that came before it. Fortunately, the film in no way detracts from Breaking Bad, as its additions to the story respect the show’s legacy and build on top of it rather than trying to redefine it. El Camino is more like an excellently-crafted extended post-credits scene than an independent film to be enjoyed in its own right, and it gives some welcome, if redundant, closure to an already phenomenal television experience.

Director Chair

Trailer for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Released

Spoilers for Breaking Bad follow.

Breaking Bad’s ending, while providing an emotionally satisfying conclusion for the series’ principal characters, left open the fate of deuteragonist Jesse Pinkman, who was last seen racing away from a Nazi compound in a stolen El Camino. The critically-acclaimed series spawned a spin-off, Better Call Saul, which is also critically acclaimed but does not address the question of what happens to Jesse Pinkman, as the series takes place before the events of Breaking Bad. However, a film entitled El Camino, starring Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman was secretly written, produced, and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, and premiers on Netflix on October 11th.

As a result of the production’s intense secrecy, details about the film are scarce. On Tuesday, a two-minute trailer was released which, though it provides hints about which characters and locations will be featured in the film, does not give much in the way of indication of overall plot progression. In the trailer, a battered Pinkman arrives at the house of his friend Skinny Pete, and is joined by series regular Badger. Pinkman showers and sets off on a journey to an unknown location for unknown reasons, stopping to dig something up in the New Mexico desert and running from the police.  An unidentified voice asks Pinkman, “You ready?” to which he replies, “Yeah,” before the film’s title appears on-screen. Though the trailer provides fans with very little information to work with, this might be for the best, as it ensures that viewing the film on its premiere will ensure an unpredictable and fresh experience.

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Though the entire cast and crew are notoriously tight-lipped, Gilligan and others have revealed a few details about the film in interviews and promotional materials. The full cast of returning characters and actors has not yet been confirmed, but Vince Gilligan has said that more than ten characters from the series will return, and Jonathan Banks has said that his character, Mike Ehrmantrout, will appear in the film, though the character died during the series. (The river where Ehrmantrout was shot is featured in the trailer, alongside two blurry figures, indicating the film may feature a flashback to the moments immediately preceding Ehrmantrout’s death.) The film was shot under the working title of Greenbrier, and used the ARRI Alexa brand of camera, giving it a more cinematic look than the series had.

Perhaps the best source of information about the movie is a feature in The Hollywood Reporter which is based off of interviews of both Vince Gilligan and Aaron Paul, during which they describe the process of creating the film and its inspirations. During the interview, Gilligan said that while watching Breaking Bad beforehand will surely enhance your experience of watching the film, it is not necessary to do so to understand the film’s plot. Because the film had a much higher budget than any of the episodes of Breaking Bad, Gilligan had a lot more flexibility when it came to making filming decisions. Gilligan has long wished for a theatrical release of a Breaking Bad film, and with El Camino, this dream will be realized, as the film will be presented in a limited theatrical release alongside the October 11th Netflix premiere, before a television screening on AMC early next year.